Oasis' fifth studio album was released on July 1, 2002 in all of the world except for the United States, where it was released on July 2, 2002 (US albums are all released on Tuesdays). This album features a more diverse mix of songs than their previous albums: four of the five members of the current lineup wrote songs for it, although Noel still contributes the most.
I have never really thought that their other albums sounded very much like The Beatles. I've always found that they have a somewhat similar sound, but not really that close. There are parts on this album, however, that sound like The Beatles, but really nothing too major. The beginning of Better Man, for example, has a sound that is very similar to Cold Turkey, John Lennon's first release with the Plastic Ono Band. I don't think that the album as a whole sounds very much like The Beatles, just a few snippets. As Noel said: "I throw more stuff away now. You can't just write Raspberry Fields Forever"
I feel that this is probably their best album since their 1995 hit (What's the Story) Morning Glory, and Noel Gallagher has said the same thing. And keep in mind that I liked Be Here Now (even if it was over-produced). This album was different from most of the previous Oasis albums because the sessions were calm. The members weren't hopped up on drugs, and there wasn't a single walkout. It would appear that perhaps (knock on wood) Liam and Noel have stopped fighting. Noel has even said: "As soon as he started writing songs, he stopped being a pisshead."
In the overseas (as in non-US) market, The Hindu Times was released as the first single, and it quickly went to number one in most places. In the US, they chose to release Stop Crying Your Heart Out as the first single. Thus, by the time of the release of the album, two singles were out in much of the world, but only one in the United States. The album was produced by the band. (That's the way it says it on the back of the album).
This album was another high-profile subject of internet copying: the entire album appeared on the internet months before it was released. Ignition Management, who manages the band released a statement saying that they weren't the final versions, and asking that reviewers not base their opinion on it. I can't verify this, as I didn't download them, although from what I have heard, they weren't substantially different, if at all.
The track list:
- The Hindu Times
- Force of Nature
- Hung in a Bad Place
- Stop Crying Your Heart Out
- Little by Little
- A Quick Peep
- (Probably) All In The Mind
- She is Love
- Born on a Different Cloud
- Better Man
Liam Gallagher wrote Songbird, Born on a Different Cloud, and Better Man.
Gem Archer wrote Hung in a Bad Place.
Andy Bell wrote A Quick Peep, the instrumental.
The Hindu Times: The first single in most of the world, this track is a fairly standard sound for the band. I like this track, and although it is not the best on the album, it is far from the worst.
Force of Nature: This song was actually written some time ago for a movie. Despite what many will think, it was actually written a year before Noel's marriage broke up.
Hung in a Bad Place: This is a pretty good song, with interesting lyrics. The music on is pretty solid, fairly standard rock. Written by Gem Archer.
Stop Crying Your Heart Out: The first US single, and second single nearly everywhere else. This song sounds quite a bit like Oasis songs generally sound, and is pretty good, but not really outstanding. A bad choice for a single if you ask me (they didn't). I think that the melody of the chorus sounds a bit like the end of U2's Walk On, which sounds quite a bit like the end of John Lennon's Instant Karma.
Songbird: This is definitely an improvement in Liam's songwriting over Little James from Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. This is an upbeat love song, and is pretty good. It is an acoustic track. Released as the fourth single off the album, this marked the first Oasis single penned by Liam.
Little by Little: Lyrically, this is the best song on the album. It is about free will and God. Rolling Stone made fun of this song specifically because of that. Musically, it is pretty good too. It was the third single, a double a-side with She is Love.
A Quick Peep: This is an instrumental track written by Andy Bell. It is similar to the two brief musical interludes on Morning Glory. It is also a pretty good track. Not outstanding, but not bad.
(Probably) All In The Mind: A pretty good track, and seems like a likely candidate for another single. A fairly psychadelic song, it has an interesting sound on the guitar.
She is Love: This is an acoustic track, and is in the same vein as Songbird. Both even have a similar musical interlude in the middle. It sounds like a synthesizer. I don't particularly like the one on this song, although otherwise it is a nice song. The second half of the third single.
Born on a Different Cloud: This is the second song by Liam on the album. It isn't as good as Songbird. Once again, this song isn't bad. It is pretty good, from my few listens, but not outstanding. This song is Lenon through and through, with the major refrain even referencing Working Class Hero.
Better Man: As I said, this song sounds a lot like Cold Turkey at the beginning. It is also a good song. And, about 20 minutes after this song ends, there is a bonus hidden track. It's an instrumental that is nice to listen to.
As you may have noticed, I don't have too much bad to say about this album. There isn't a song on it that I don't like. I think that it is definitely a solid album, and if you have liked any of the band's other albums, you will probably like this one. Make sure to listen to it two or three times before you make up your mind on it though. I think that the strength of this album over their previous ones starts to shine through at this point.